Getting out for a lunchtime walk is a great excuse for a chat with your workmates and a chance to re-charge, but does walking more really improve your health? Here’s 8 facts about walking and health that’ll have you signing up for the Step Count Challenge in no time.

1) Being physically active reduces your risk of Type 2 Diabetes by up to 40%

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2) Being physically active also reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 35%

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3) You can also reduce your risk of certain types of cancer by being physically active

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Adults taking part in daily physical activity have an approximately 30% lower risk of colon cancer and an approximately 20% lower risk of breast cancer.

4) There is a 20-30% lower risk of depression and dementia for adults who are physically active every day

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One Step Count Challenge participant, Katie, shared her story about walking and mental health with us. You can read Katie’s story here.

5) Being physically active also reduces risk of falls by 30% in older adults

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6) Taking part in the Step Count Challenge is a great way of getting in your recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days per week

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It’s recommended that adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, such as walking or cycling. That’s 30 minutes of walking a day over 5 days.

7) Exercise can also help improve self esteem, mood and sleep, and reduce levels of anxiety.

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This makes walking more a great way of looking after your mental wellbeing.

8) It really works! 

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During the spring 2018 Step Count Challenge, we surveyed participants to find out what they enjoyed about taking part. Of those surveyed, 22.09% said they enjoyed feeling healthier during the challenge, and 20.91% said they got fitter during the challenge. Most of all, 41.72% said they enjoyed challenging themselves to be more active.

All health statistics from Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity for health from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers, Department of Health, Physical Activity, Health I